Daniel Trettel wasn’t really out to win Thursday’s 15th annual Way Station of Frederick County’s 5-kilometer Turkey Trot in Frederick.
He viewed it as more of a workout, but halfway through the race, when the 26-year-old Jefferson native realized he would most likely win, he started picking up his pace.
“I decided to make it a real workout,” Trettel said.
Trettel won the overall title in 15 minutes, 11 seconds. Eight seconds behind him was former overall champion Stewart Reich, of Columbia. Lutherville’s Jim Heilman got third (15:23).
Thomas Johnson High School graduate, and current Jefferson, North Carolina, resident Savannah Plombon, repeated her women’s title on Thursday, crossing the finish line in 18:28.
A record 4,300 athletes signed up for Thursday’s event, race officials said.
This was Trettel’s first Turkey Trot. A track runner by nature and a member of Georgetown Running Club, he took his coach’s advice to enter the race.
“He told me to get into it for fun,” Trettel said. “I enjoyed it.”
It didn’t take long for Trettel to take the lead. Less than 800 meters into the race, making the first turn at West Second Street and College Avenue, he had already begun to break away from the pack.
“My intention was to always take the lead,” said Trettel, a graduate student at Maryland seeking a Ph.D. in bio-chemistry.
But he noted he expected his teammates to stay with him on pace, eventually taking over the lead. Instead, he began emerging at the clear front-runner, with Reich and Heilman trailing behind on a steady pace the rest of the way.
Thursday’s runners were challenged by some strong winds compared to last year.
“Last year, it was beautiful,” Plombon said. “Today, though, it was a little brisk.”
Trettel said while it was more windy on the course this year, it’s something all runners have to contend with at one time or another.
“You know, everyone races in the wind,” he said. “You just have to tough it out like everyone else.”
Frederick’s Louis Levine, this year’s overall winner at the Frederick Half Marathon, was fourth on Thursday (15:38). Nathan Davis, also of Frederick, finished fifth (15:40).
Plombon, an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, took her lead around a quarter of a mile into the race. Thanks to the six-minute pace time she set for herself, Plombon slowly began pulling away from the other women’s contenders in the race.
“From there on, it was smooth sailing,” she said.
Plombon said the wind didn’t bother her too much on the course on Thursday.
“There were a couple of spots where it was a little tougher than others, but, overall, it was OK.”
Like Trettel, Plombon was using Thursday’s race as a training run for bigger things. She’s tuning up for next February’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, hoping to earn a spot on that team.
“I’m going to start my marathon cycle of training in December,” Plombon said. “I’m also considering running in next May’s Frederick Half Marathon. Yeah, I might have to make another appearance up here.”
Frederick’s Claire Heasman was second in the women’s division (18:47). Caroline Gregory, of Frederick, was third (19:29). Reilly Caldwell, of Middletown, was fourth (19:53). Asha Bora, of Hurricane, West Virginia, was fifth (20:07).